Joachim Neander

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Joachim Neander
Born 1650
Bremen, Germany
Died 31 May 1680
Bremen, Germany
Nationality German
Religion German Reformed Church (Calvinist)

Joachim Neander (Neumann) (1650 – 31 May 1680) was a German Reformed (Calvinist) Church teacher, theologian and hymn writer whose most famous hymn, Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation (German: Lobe den Herren, den mächtigen König der Ehren) is generally regarded as one of the greatest hymns of praise of the Christian church and, since being translated into English by Catherine Winkworth in the 19th century, it has appeared in most major hymnals.

Neander wrote about 60 hymns and provided tunes for many of them. He is considered by many to be the first important German hymnist after the Reformation and is regarded as the outstanding hymn writer of the German Reformed Church.

Joachim Neander was born in Bremen, the son of a Latin teacher. His grandfather, a musician, had changed the family name from the original Neumann ('New man' in English) to the Greek form Neander following the fashion of the time. After the death of his father, he could not afford to study at a famous university. He therefore studied theology in his hometown from 1666 to 1670. At first, his heart was not in it. It was only when he heard a sermon of Theodor Undereyk (shortly before the end of his course) that his beliefs became serious.

In 1671 he became a private tutor in Heidelberg, and in 1674 he became a teacher in a Latin school in Düsseldorf, one step before becoming a minister. While living there, he liked to go to the nearby valley of the Düssel river, nature being the inspiration for his poems. He also held gatherings and services in the valley, at which he gave sermons. The Neandertal (German thal for valley, modernized to tal) was renamed in his honor in the early 19th century, and became famous in 1856 when the remains of the Neanderthal Man (Homo neanderthalensis) were found there.

In 1679, Neander became a pastor in Bremen, as his popularity with the common people had caused problems with the church administration in Düsseldorf. One year later, at the age of 30, he died of tuberculosis.

Further reading[edit]

  • Helmut Ackermann: Joachim Neander. Sein Leben, seine Lieder, sein Tal. 3. erw. Aufl. Düsseldorf 2005, ISBN 3-89978-029-9.
  • Gerhard Dünnhaupt: "Joachim Neander (1650–1680)". In: Personalbibliographien zu den Drucken des Barock, Bd. 4. Hiersemann, Stuttgart 1991, ISBN 3-7772-9122-6, pp. 2933–2936 (bibliography of his works and literature)
  • Lore Esselbrügge: Joachim Neander, ein Kirchenliederdichter des 17. Jhs. Diss. Marburg 1921.
  • Andreas L. Hofbauer: "Meine Taube / in den Felßlöchern / in dem Verborgene der Steinritzen / laß mich hören deine Stimme. Ad Joachim Neander". In: Dirk Matejovski, Dietmar Kamper, Gerd-C. Weniger (eds.), Mythos Neanderthal, Frankfurt/New York 2001, ISBN 3-593-36751-3.
  • W. Nelle: Joachim Neander, der Dichter der „Bundeslieder“ und „Dankpsalmen“. Hamburg 1904.
  • Joachim Neander: Bundeslieder und Dankpsalmen von 1680 mit ausgesetztem Generalbaß von Oskar Gottlieb Blarr. (Schriftenreihe des Vereins für Rheinische Kirchengeschichte, Band 79.) Rheinland-Verlag GmbH, Köln, 1984, ISBN 3-7927-0810-8.
  • Joachim Neander: Bundes-Lieder und Dank-Psalmen. Facsimile reprint of the first edition, Bremen 1680, with studies by Thomas Elsmann and Oskar Gottlieb Blarr. Bremen: Schünemann 2009, 192, 34 pp.

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